Trailer Thefts A Common Crime In Tulsa
TULSA, Oklahoma - About 300 trailers, worth almost $2 million, are stolen every year in the city of Tulsa. Only about 15 percent of them are recovered, partly because they're not tagged, so they're hard to track.
Nearly every day in Tulsa, someone gets their trailer stolen.
The average cost is around $5,000, but some, like the enclosed ones loaded with tools, racing equipment or a lawn business, are worth much more.
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"An enclosed trailer is like Christmas for a thief. He doesn't know what he's getting until he opens the back," said Tulsa Police Detective, J.W. Sherrill.
Every trailer stolen in Tulsa goes to Sherrill's desk.
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He said the thieves are better organized than most people give them credit for. He said they see a trailer and get a buyer for it before they steal it.
"They'll take a picture of a trailer, post it online, and when they have a buyer they'll go steal it," Sherrill said.
He said there are two basic groups of people stealing trailers:
1) Men in their 40s, who have all been to prison in the past. Most have a commercial driver's license and most belong to a white supremacist gang.
2) The second group is men in their 20s, most are on probation. They rarely have any driver's license and don't belong to a gang.
The thing both groups have in common is that they're taking the trailers for drug money.
Sherrill said, "Some are being sold at auction, some are being sold at flea markets, some being sold online and some are being taken to Mexico."
By far, most trailers stolen in Tulsa are flatbeds, and the thefts take place pretty evenly across Tulsa, although more are taken from east and the southwest section of town followed by the north part of Tulsa.
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Police are looking for a man who has a warrant out after police said he had five stolen trailers. Clinton Rose has a long list of previous crimes, which detectives say is quite common.
The best way to protect yourself is to tag your trailer.
If you're hauling tools or equipment, take pictures of everything and write down the serial numbers.
Most locks can be defeated, but a GPS tracking device would be your best chance of getting it back.